The joys and tribulations of the driving commute

Every Sunday morning we get up and get ready to head down south where I work two days a week.  It’s a tedium we try and mitigate by doing nice thing for ourselves, like either going to yoga or having an indulgent breakfast.  And then into a quick clean and pack before heading out.  We generally leave at 2pm with a view of arriving somewhere around 5pm.

The drive should only take 2.5 hours.  But Ms Google has informed us today that there is a long delay – 30 mins of red highway and so our arrival is timed for after 5.30pm.  Why?  Who knows.  Ms Google doesn’t seem to know.  All she knows is that there’s congestion.  At the moment we’re stopped.  Traffic isn’t moving. All seems to be going well the other way – cars moving fast with no congestion.  On this side of the road: nada.  No movement.  It’s an exercise in frustration.  It seems to happen a lot.  And it doesn’t seem to matter what time or day we leave.  Heading back to the sunny coast we leave after 4pm on either Tuesday or Wednesday and same thing: delays and congestion.  The supposed 2.5 hour journey generally takes 3hours+.  Its tedious but also gruelling.   But the most frustrating part of it is not knowing the cause of the congestion.  Too may cars?  Or is it just the roadworks (that have been going on for over 10 years – without sight of person or vehicle making any progress)? Or something else.  

I had considered public transport.  But the logistics are impossible Queensland is just not commuter friendly.

And now Ms Google has revised her calculations:  delay = 1+ hr. Grrrrr………

The moment I wake up… baring all

One of the things that goes by the wayside when I’m on holidays is makeup. Despite taking a limited range of cosmetics – foundation, tinted moisturiser, blush, eye shadow, eye liner (in 3 different shades), eye brow pencil and lipsticks, I very rarely wear any. Nonetheless I still pack my set of brushes and the basics plus a few extra eye shadows in case we go out somewhere fancy and I need to look good. But mostly, we’re just tramping around or driving in a car or walking and its either too hot or just not necessary. No one sees me and it does seem like a waste of time to put it all on and then have to take it all off at the end of the day. Much easier just to moisturise, sunscreen, apply a slick of lipstick and go.

I usually always wear eye liner (pencil) and mascara, lip liner and lipstick. This time, I’ve only been putting on lipstick – not even lip liner. Have my standards dropped? Or is it that traveling and being anonymous gives you the freedom to go au naturelle. Its liberating in a way. When I was working I spent quite some minutes preening – primer, sunscreen foundation, bronzer, blush, eye primer, shadow, liner, mascara, lip liner, lipstick. And the hair. When I stopped work there seemed no real need to do all that but I nonetheless wore eyeshadow, eye liner and mascara and the lipstick (with requisite liner) and more recently as the weather warmed up tinted moisturiser with a high SPF.

So as I pack my stuff at the end of each leg of our journey and put away the various cosmetic bags I wonder why I bothered taking so much. Its the “what if” factor. What if we go out and I need to look good? The reality is, no one sees me and no one cares. Its been quite liberating to forgo these beauty rituals and just make do with the essentials: moisturiser and eye cream and lipstick. Now if only I could pack this lightly on my next journey.

Rain stopped and all’s right with the world

At last the rains have stopped and we’re enjoying a balmy evening with a warm breeze. Sitting in the Le Meridien lobby overlooking the lush gardens enjoying a post dinner drink. There’s nothing to do here. That’s the point of one of these holidays – an opportunity to just switch off, put your brain on hold and just relax. For some, that’s easy to do. For others – me – it poses a challenge. But after all the rain and feeling a bit stir crazy its a welcome respite to feel that this is what holidays are all about. I could do with another Fra Angelico on ice but maybe that’s a bit excessive. Then again, it’s holiday time. Which means indulgence. We had a wonderful massage tonight in the resort. The other day we ventured into the centre of Khao Lak and had a massage at one of the local places. Enjoyable it was not. It was one of those places where they just go through the motions and despite saying it was too strong (painful) they continued whilst chatting amongst themselves all the while. It was cheap but I’d rather spend money on a better service. On someone who knows and actually cares. I think I came away bruised. I just wanted it to stop and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

There’s nothing in Khao Lak worth seeing. We found a reasonable little restaurant(!) but it was merely ok. Beer and some local thai food. Shops that sell tourist craap and little else. The little place at the end of the street opposite the resort where we took our washing was friendly and good but it was a far cry from the food stalls in other parts of the country. The market was poor and limited. Hardly worth the excursion and we only went in search of limes. The little supermarkets didn’t really have fruit and veg. I don’t know who they cater for.

The resort is lovely. It’s huge with a number if pools and places to eat though unfortunately because it’s the wet season and few guests a number of the restaurants were closed. And because of the torrential rains even some of these were closed for a couple of days.

No matter.There’s a gym and the spa centre and a huge lobby with a well stocked bar. And the martinis are excellent. Salut!

I need a holiday!


It’s my last day in Ubud. 7.30am and I’m still in bed. Admittedly awake since the sun came up and the roosters crowed but still lazing in bed. Can’t face early morning yoga. Can’t face yoga period. I’ve done 10 classes in 5 days. That’s 4 hours a day. 40 hours over 5 days. I’ve been stretched and twisted and challenged and wrung out. I thought yoga here would be a breeze and I’d be relaxed and comfortable. Hah! There are some serious heavy duty yogis here. I’m just a novice. The things people can do with their bodies – amazing.
I don’t aspire to ever get there but it has been good to give it a go. And I do feel stronger. But my body is sore.
There have been same amazing teachers who push and challenge. There’s no room to hide or not try. It’s like Nike (just do it).
I also did a really weird class. Yesterday morning I felt I couldn’t do hard core and thought I’d take the easy option –  Hatha yoga. Except this was Hatha with a twist: tantric. Ancient yoga that came with a warning that serious energy gets shifted and that some people find it deeply disturbing. In other words: magic. 
Well, I was there and didn’t really want to come back later (there was breakfast to factor in), so I thought I’d give it a go. Whoa! It was seriously weird. In fact it was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced.  The teacher – and her 3 acolytes – sat with their eyes closed emitting strange sounds, bodies jerking as though possessed. And that was just the beginning. I had no idea what to make of it. It was supposed to be a purification practice – a detox. It was just plain weird. And it has sworn me off trying classes I know nothing about. There are so many of them here- catering for all levels of weirdness. Ubud seems to be the place where lots of weird people come (obviously the tantric yoga practice had no effect on me – one of its goals being the dropping of judgement).

So now I’m sitting on my balcony overlooking the rice paddies, enjoying  a leisurely breakfast and planning the remainder of my day. Thus far all I can manage is a much needed massage. I feel like after all this I will need a holiday!